Saturday, December 31, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts C & D - Repeat Once

After my false start I have completed Charts C and D, twice, correctly, no problems with rows 61M or 63.  All that is left are Charts E and F.  Chart E is almost a duplicate of Chart D, only 8 rows, but more of those Estonian Lilies, which are beautiful, but kind of tedious to knit with all those increases.  Chart F is very similar to Chart A, and will presumably produce the beautiful leaf edge that will be such a pain to pin out.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts C & D - Correct!

Amazing how much better things work out when you follow the directions ;-).  Fortunately I only had to reknit the last row of Chart C and Chart D is only 8 rows.  I did have one heart stopping moment when I was knitting row 63.  I got to the center stitch and seemed to be off by 3 stitches.  Then I realized that I had done my 3 into 9 set instead of k3tog and everything was okay.  I am glad that I ripped back, my stitch count would have been way off if I hadn't and that would have totally messed up the amazing leaf border, which is one of the most beautiful things about this shawl, even if it will be a royal pain to pin out.  But it will be so worth it.  I also like the way the colors are pooling better on the corrected version.

Let's Try This Again...

Okay, so I'm an idiot and obviously need to learn to read directions more thoroughly.  I got back to row 61M and still had issues with that row and row 63 and I just couldn't understand what was going on, so I went back to the directions and looked them over again and said "oh"...or maybe that should be "doh!"  At first I thought about forging ahead with my variation, but it really didn't take me long to decide to rip back and redo it.  Yes, rip back, without lifelines, 32 rows.  I've done this sort of thing before and I've gotten pretty good at it, although I don't think I would try it with a pure silk yarn, but with a nice wool or wool silk blend it isn't that hard, even if it is a little scary.  I just pull out the needles and start frogging.  I stop one row before the row that I want to start with, and that last row I pull out a stitch at a time, while picking up the live stitches on my needle.  The toughest thing about this particular row were all the S2kp stitches that I had to undo.  But now I am already to begin again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Chart D

Well, I don't know what the deal is with row 61 (the last row of Chart C), but despite all my efforts I ended up with extra stitches in row 63.  Fortunately they occurred around the center stitch, so I improvised and it all worked out okay.  Row 63 isn't a very difficult row, but it contains a bunch of increases to create the Estonian Lilies.  I actually had to go over my knitting working from the center stitch out making sure that everything was symmetrical.  Whatever happened in those two rows, I didn't have any trouble with the rest of Chart D.  After I pinned it out for the photo I checked the symmetry of Charts C and D and everything looks good.  Now I get to repeat Charts C and D, so I will get another crack at rows 61 and 63.

You can get a pretty good sense of the color transition in this photo.  I think it looks good, I may never do another set of transitions rows with a gradiance set again.  I find that thought rather liberating.  I guess I am lazy about some things, and color changes are one of those things.

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Chart C

Chart C was a bit of a challenge.  I actually had to refer to the written directions and use markers (gasp!  I hardly ever use markers with lace, they just seem to get in my way).  I am still not sure that I did the last row correctly, about a third of the way through the row my brain locked up and I had to get out my novelty frog magnet to help me keep my place in the chart.

I tried an experiment with this project.  As I mentioned, the yarn is a gradiance set and it is recommended that you do a series of transition rows between the skeins, and I have done that on the other three shawls that I have knit using gradiance sets.  But this lace pattern is taking up most of my brain power and I just didn't want to deal with the transition rows, so I decided to see if the yarn would do all the work for me.  I knit until I was almost at the end of the first skein and then I grabbed the second skein and started with a length that matched the color of the first skein and started knitting.  And I am happy to say that the colors are transitioning beautifully.

Postscript:  Well, I just finished going back over that last row in Chart C and I definitely made a mistake, but I believe it is because there is a mistake in the chart.  After the two sets of stitches that are gray, there is a motif that the chart indicates should be knitted twice, but when I did that I actually ran out of stitches, and if I leave out that second repeat, everything works out.  It only affect the second half of the row and the mistakes were easily fixed.  At first I was just marking where the mistakes were with slip on markers, but it wasn't just a matter of picking up a missed stitch, so I decided I needed to just fix them as I went along by slipping the stitches from one needle to the next until I got to a spot where there was a mistake, fixing it, and moving on.  We'll see how good I am when I start the next chart.

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts A & B

I saw this shawl on the Earth Faire web site and just fell in love with it, so I bought the kit.  The kit doesn't seem to be available right now, but the pattern is.  The yarn is The Unique Sheep Eos in Chocolate Roses, one of their gradiance colorways.  The shawl pattern comes in four sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large.  The kit comes with enough yarn to make the medium version.  The pattern is not for the inexperienced lace knitter, however.  There are multiple charts, and because of the different sizes there are multiple combinations of those charts.  To add to the complication, only the first half of each row is charted, you have to knit to to the end of the row (which is really the middle of the pattern row) and then reverse direction to get the other half of the pattern row, and remember to reverse some of the stitches as appropriate.

This was another project that I cast on in early December (the 5th, according to my project page).  I think I had a fit of new project-itis at the beginning of the month, but then it took a back seat to some other projects and I finally picked it back up yesterday.  I would not advise working on this one in fits and starts, unless you take really good notes on where you are at, it is just too easy to lose the bubble on where you are and what you are doing.  Yesterday I finished Chart A (the top picture), and this morning I finished up Chart B (an easy one, the chart is only 8 rows).
You can see the beads better in the top picture (I used the flash), but this picture has more accurate colors.

Pattern - Three Quarter Time Shawl, beaded version, by Mary R. White

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wilhelmina Shawlette

I cast this on early in December (the 8th, according to my project page), but it took a back seat to a couple of other shawls.  I finally got back to it this past week.  The design is from a book published by The Cooperative Press of projects inspired by literary characters called What Would Madame Defarge Knit?.  This shawlette was designed by Chrissy Gardiner, and was inspired by Mina, the heroine of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.  I made mine in Serendipitous Ewe Fate Fingering in Blood Thirsty.

And here a beauty shots of my latest shawls (I seem to be making a lot of them lately).
The Wilhelmina Shawlette

Arachne's Delight

The Jungle Book Shawl

The Christmas Shawl
I also have the Dickens colorway (red/green) for this shawl, now I just have to decide which color to start with.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Arachne's Delight - Finished

I am spending a quiet day at home knitting and watching all of the "Thin Man" movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy.  This is the October 2011 Light and Dark Lace Club Shawl.  The yarn is PennyRose Lili, a 100% merino lace weight in Toffee.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Azores Island Pullover - Body Done

A trip to Charlottesville, two trips to Aberdeen Proving Ground, reviewing documents at work and reading Alexander Dumas at home (The Three Musketeers) produced the body of my latest pullover.  The yarn is Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Azores Islands, the Color Cruise colorway for May.  Do you see what I mean about the colors?  They are a somewhat unusual combination that I would never have considered - purple, blue and red all go well enough together, but then they added that seafoam green.  And yet, somehow it works.

I wore my Casablanca Pullover to dinner last night.  We took the kids (both in college) to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  The food was fine, but the service was extremely slow.  It took over an hour for our food to come out.  The waitress was very apologetic, even though we didn't get mean about it.  After the kids took off to do some shopping, the manager came out, apologized, and told us that he had comped our dinner.  All we paid for were our two beers and the appetizer.  The thing that I don't understand is why it was so slow, the place was not very busy.

So, this morning I was checking the stats on my blog (I like to see where the hits come from) and I had 89 hits from Russia, in one day.  Kind of weird, huh.  I know it is a big country, but I've never had that many hits in one day, let alone from one country.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Casablanca Pullover - Finished!

I finished this up this weekend, taking a break from lace knitting and enjoying the soothing rhythms of simple knitting.  I will confess that this colorway does not really remind me of Casablanca, but I do like the colors.  Honestly, I haven't really found any of the Color Cruise colorways to be that evocative of the places that they are supposed to represent, unlike the Flower of the Month colorways.  And wait till you see the Azores Islands Pullover.  It has a very unusual combination of colors that I wasn't sure about at first, but which is growing on my as I knit.

Yarn - Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Casablanca, 3 skeins
Pattern - Top Down Raglan from SweaterWizard
Needles - US 5, 6

I have also been busy organizing my studio.  I have been taking photos of the pattern envelopes of my sewing patterns with my iPad so I can leaf through the pictures when I want to find something to sew.  I have made it through my collection of Vogue and McCalls patterns, and am on the Simplicity patterns.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arachne's Delight - Charts C

I finally got back to this shawl and finished up Chart C.  I have done two repeats of the border already.  I did make some modifications to the pattern.  I completed the final repeat of the motif, which gave me 402 stitches.  I only increased to 408 stitches, rather than 432 as called for in the pattern.  This will give me 17 repeats of the border pattern to each triangle, rather than 18.

This past year knitting has pretty much consumed my crafting time, but I have decided that I need to make time for the other crafts that I enjoy:  sewing, beading, weaving, crochet.  I may even tackle spinning next year.  So look for other types of projects next year.  I also plan to spend more time reading the resources that I have been accumulating, so expect to see some book reviews in the future.  I am not sure where all of this will lead, but I feel a need to make some changes in my life.  I have also been organizing my studio.  My yarn stash is almost completely cataloged and put up in plastic bins.  There is the inevitable overflow, and I don't have the latest acquisitions cataloged, but it is mostly done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Finished!

The pattern had a slight asymmetry deliberately introduced to give the pattern a more organic feel.  An effect that I really like on the gradiance sets and the semi-solid colors, but with the dramatic color changes of my yarn it just wasn't working, so I adjusted the pattern to make it symmetrical.  I also went down to a size 5 needle, which gave me a slightly tighter gauge than called for and a slightly smaller shawlette, although it is still 54" across.  The colorway is Fall Goddess on Luxe by the Unique Sheep and I used a little less than 1 skein (400 yards).

I think that this colorway really demonstrates the necessity of matching yarn types and colors with patterns.  I had originally bought this yarn for the Phoenix and the Carpet shawl, but once I started knitting with it I just wasn't happy with the way it was turning out, because it just wasn't coming together the way it should.  So I put the shawl aside for a while until a different colorway spoke to me - the Golden Mustard.  Meanwhile, Fall Goddess sat in my basket feeling a little abandoned, knowing that it could become a beautiful shawl, if only the right pattern came along.  Fortunately one did and I am extremely happy with the way the shawl turned out.  I loved knitting it and watching the colors change and pool and play off of each other.

Of course, the yarn itself is important as well.  If you don't enjoy handling the yarn, it just isn't going to be that much fun to knit with. I love knitting with Luxe.  It has a nice twist to it, so it has great stitch definition and once it is blocked it develops a wonderful hand, soft and drapey, but not limp.  It is one of my favorite fingering weight yarns.  Personally, I feel that if you aren't enjoying the knitting, you shouldn't do it.  Life is too short and there are too many beautiful yarns and wonderful patterns out there to spend time working on something that you don't love.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tangled Threads - Crochet Block

This weekend I pulled out my Crochet blocks.  I am way behind, I have only crocheted up 3 of the 12 block sets that I have received.  I was actually keeping up at the beginning of the year, but fell behind some time in April.  So this morning I organized the kits that I have received by fiber type.  The plan is to work each fiber type and start assembling them into something, blankets, pillows, whatever strikes my fancy.  Right now I am working on the ones in Luxe.  This block is Tangled Threads by Melinda Miller, and was the August block.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Carol Shawlette - Finished!

Once I felt confident that I had memorized the edge chart, it went very quickly.  What can I say?  I love the yarn, love the pattern, love the colors.  The yarn is Tinsel Toes, the pattern is Christmas Carol Shawlette, the 2011 Christmas Club, and the color is Tinsel, Tinsel.  This is the first time that I have knit with Tinsel Toes and I really like it.  The Tencel adds a nice sheen and I think the shawl will be both elegant and cozy, which is a hard to beat combination.

Casablanca Pullover - Body Done

I have been working away at this one between other projects.  This is my easy project, perfect for car rides and reading boring documents at work, both of which occurred in the past week.  I took some time out this morning to finish the ribbing and knit the neck band.  I'll get the first sleeve started and then go back to working on the border of my Christmas Carol Shawlette - I'm over half way done.

The yarn is Fiesta Boomerang in Casablanca, one of their Color Cruise 2012 colors, 3 skeins, size 5 and 6 needles, simple Top Down Raglan from Sweater Wizard Software.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Clues 1, 2 & 3 - Take 2

So Clue 3 came out yesterday and after dinner I dived eagerly in.  I had been reading the forum so I knew that there was some errata, and that the spines were not intended to line up with the spines from Clue 2.  But after I knit a few rows I knew that I wanted the symmetry so I decided to rip back.  But as I was contemplating the changes to the pattern I decided that I really wanted to go back and fix the asymmetries that existed in Clues 1 and 2 as well.  So I ripped back to the last increase row before Clue 1.  For those wondering, I did not have any life lines, I simply pulled the knitting off of my needles and started ripping back.  When I got to one row before the row I wanted to start knitting at again I tinked, putting each stitch back on the needles before pulling out the stitch from the row above.

But, before I started knitting Clue 1 again I had to make a slight modification to the chart.  You see, the pattern really wants to be knit over 41 stitches, not 40, so I added an extra stitch, resulting in a symmetric pattern.
So far, so good.  Then I got to the next increase row, but how many yarn overs did I need to do?  I knew that I needed to add another stitch to the chart to make it symmetric, but did I need one stitch or two in the knitting?  It turns out that I needed one stitch, so instead of my increase row being k3, (yo, k1), end yo, k3 it was k4, (yo, k1), end k3.  This gave me 81 stitches for the chart pattern.  And the result was that everything lined up beautifully.
Reknitting those two clues took me all evening, and this morning I tackled Clue 3.  Once again for my increase row I did k4, (yo, k1), end k3, giving me 161 stitches for the Clue 3 pattern.  In Clue 3 however, the extra stitch went at the beginning of the right side rows, instead of the end.  But once again everything worked out perfectly.
Now back to my Christmas Carol Shawlette.  I am about a quarter of the way through the knit on border.